How one college recruits adult learners through speed interviews

By Stuart Davis

For many dislocated workers, new skill training offers an improved pathway to employment. However, these job seekers often choose to forgo retraining at community colleges because they are unaware of applicable course offerings, in need of an immediate pay check, or skeptical about the investment of money and time. In fact, a recent survey of unemployed workers by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found only 15% of respondents took a course to learn new skills to strengthen their job search.

In our study, Recapturing Adult Learner Enrollments, we present a variety of practices and tools to alleviate these barriers for job seekers and to grow enrollment at your college. For example, Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) uses a speed interviewing event, where all graduates meet face-to-face with area employers, to attract job seekers to enroll in its advanced manufacturing and mechatronics certificate program.

New Skills Take Backseat to Job Search
Percentage of Job Seekers Participating in Select Activities in Last 12 Months
New Skills Take Backseat to Job Search

Guaranteeing job interviews to program graduates

During the final week of BPCC's certificate program, seven to nine local manufacturing employers visit campus. They receive the resumes of each graduating student in the morning and conduct 15-minute, first-round interviews throughout the day. Each employer remains stationed in one room, while the students rotate among them. After the event, employers invite promising candidates to their sites for second-round interviews.

Not only does the speed interview event improve job outcomes for graduates, but it convinces prospective students of the value of enrollment. Many participating students received second-round interviews within 24 hours of the event. During the 2014-15 academic year, 30 of the 66 certificate graduates accepted job offers with employers met through speed interviewing. Program staff discuss the speed interview event with prospective students to illustrate how BPCC's program elevates their job search outcomes.

Launch a speed interviewing event on your campus

Our Adult Learner Recruitment Toolkit provides two resources to help you and your colleagues quickly replicate the speed interviewing model on your campus:

Speed Interviewing Outreach Template
Speed interviewing outreach template

Pinpoint the fastest-growing jobs, skills, and employers in your state

Drawing from more than 100 million unique job postings through our partnership with Burning Glass, our state market demand dashboard offers a snapshot of the hottest jobs, skills, and employers in each state. This data can help you get a leg up in a crowded market by inspiring ideas for new programs, highlighting new audiences and curricular components, and identifying new corporate training partners. View the dashboards.

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Recapturing Adult Learner Enrollments

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